Friday, December 29, 2006

Another Necklace

I usually don't like making the same thing twice but since this pattern is so easy I thought I'd do it again to help me gain some speed and dexterity. I used size 11 seeds, iris metallic olive and metallic copper.

After attaching the clasp I came back across the top adding a seed in the space between each motif. (see close up of the previous one)

I didn't like the way I attached the clasp the last time - it seemed a bit stiff, so I added a little loop and attached the clasp and ring in the center of the loop. I guess that means I didn't actually make the same thing twice.

I find doing this netted beadwork very relaxing. Much akin to spinning. Once you've decided on the yarn you're spinning or the pattern you're beading then you can let your hands take over and allow your mind to wander.

ETA: I forgot to mention where I got the pattern for the necklace. It was Basic Net Necklace designed by Sandra Halpenny.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


After I accidently pulled the needle out of 1/4 of the stitches, I decided to bit the bullet and rip the Sheep Shawl. As you can see progress was slow. Although I enjoyed watching the pictures develop I knew I wouldn't enjoy wearing it as much. I want a lightweight shawl that will work for spring or summer. Meet Kimono from Folk Shawls.....

I finished a few more repeats since I took the picture, but I'll spare you repetitive blob pictures. If you want to be wowed you need to travel over to Snail Spirals and see Sue's Urchin Shawl! She charted the original design, knitted the fantastic shawl, and then dipped the finished shawl into the dye pot. What an undertaking!

Monday, December 18, 2006


I started weaving placemats using Sue's twill draft.

When I looked at the draft on Fiberworks I didn't think the floats on the sides would be a problem, but working with supersized yarn (4/4 cotton) is a whole 'nother story!

I stuck with it for for the first mat which was probably a mistake. We'll see what it looks like after washing, but it can always be a mat under the espresso machine. I have enough warp for at least 8.

I added floating selveges and wove in 2.5" of plastic bag strips to hold the fringe. I think I'll use two strips of cardboard between the other mats but thought I needed to get the floating selvege anchored before starting the next one. It made such a difference. The selveges look great.

The close up colors are truer than the larger shots.

I sett mine more open than Sue's, 140 ends at 10 epi and 10 ppi.

I found some blank Shrinky-Dink plastic while rummaging through some of my stuff. Just right to make a dishwasher button for my mom. She hasn't used her dishwasher much in the past few years but now we are coming and going and we're not sure if the dishwasher is clean or dirty. A little velcro and we're good to go!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Look What I Found

I opened a little used drawer last week and rediscovered a sweater that was almost done. I started it in 1998. I know that because I have the Knitware directions with a start date of January 8, 1998. Four years ago, after Claudia asked everyone to share their UFO's (see 9/16 entry). Sunday I devoted a couple of hours to seaming and sewing the button band on. Now I know why I love knitting sweaters in one piece. I HATE sewing sweater pieces. The band is a little wonky at the top of the button side, but I can fix that. I need to get buttons and it will be ready to go. The stitch definition of Bendigo Colonial is fantastic. I forgot how much I liked this yarn.

I don't know if this actually qualifies as Cooking with Intention, but after making a double batch of the Cheddar Broccoli Soup and a double batch of Vegetable Beef Soup I knew I had to make something to satisfy my mom's sweet tooth. Carrot cake baked as cupcakes with cream cheese icing.

3 cups grated carrots
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup crushed pineapple -- well drained
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup walnuts -- chopped
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 325. Line muffin tins with paper or spray with Pam.

In a large mixing bowl beat eggs until well blended. Add sugar, oil, carrots, pineapple, and vanilla.

Add flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Spoon into pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

Dust with 10X sugar or frost with cream cheese frosting.

I got 24 cupcakes and enough leftover to fill two large custard cups. For those eagle eyed readers, Josh got to one before I could snap the picture. The containers are waiting to be filled with soup!

No picture, but I made some Cheddar Onion Bread to take in too. It's great right out of the oven or toasted later on. I use my bread machine through the first rise.

1 1/8 cups milk
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup grated onion
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
3 1/3 cups bread flour
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Heat milk to 80 degrees. (30 seconds on high). Add ingredients to bread pan in order. Set for dough. Remove dough, punch down, knead gently and form into loaf. Oil bread pan and roll dough until lightly coated with oil. Cover and let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until internal temperature is between 190 and 195.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

New Necklace

I finished the necklace and wore it last week. The shiny beads are silver-lined blue zircon delicas, the main beads are olive iris seed beeds. This was an easy to remember pattern. I'm making it again in moss iris beads with bronze metallic seeds for the accent.

This lump is the finished, but unblocked, Swallowtail from the fall IK.

Here it is blocking, but I must have skipped a zero when typing in the thumbnail size. Since I'm at school I can't correct it.

I have to get some TIG wire (recommended by Sara) as trying to pin out the points was getting tedious. I can only imagine how tired I'd be if it were a full size shawl. This is from the singles I bought at WEBS last spring. There was so much energy in the yarn that I had to hold it up and let it unwind every row or two.

I finished Butterfly a month or two ago but finally got around to blocking that. This going to be a laprobe for my mom. I didn't keep any ball bands, but it's a German dk superwash I got in a swap a few years ago. Not enough for a sweater, but it blocked out to a 46" square. This was a very easy knit. I would do it again in a laceweight for a largerer shawl.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New Beads

After several attempts at figuring out how I wanted to attach the clasp I made one vital error!

I fixed it and here's the finished necklace. Just what you wanted to see - a 55 year old neck close up!

When I took the right angle weave class the instructed has us use Nymo B doubled. I see instructions for netted or woven beads using single strands of Nymo D and some with single strands of Nymo B. In this necklace you can see where I had to go through beads more than once and I don't really like that. Any suggestions?

I started a new necklace which is much prettier in real life. I've used Topaz Iris seed beads but you can't see the beautiful shading. I forget what the blue beads are called but they are cylindrical.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Fulling Makes the Blanket

I tried to take a picture that would convey the wonderful drape of this light, but warm blanket. I lost a few ends while weaving but it was easy to fix before twisting the fringe and fulling. The only problem was the selvages, they are a little ratty looking. I'll have to fix that before the next warp with this wool.

Because I was a little discouraged by the energy in the singles and a few broken warp threads I decided to just experiment with the fringe. Using the Conair Quick Braid I did 2 groups of 2 ends each on one end and 3 groups of 2 ends on the other. I really like the fuller, rounder fringe. It took a little more time, but it looked better than doing 2 groups of 3 ends. Just like the roundness of the three-ply that is still in process.

Kathy was spot on when she told me that I would love the texture in this singles blanket.

So now that I've decided not to ply the remainder but to try a twill doubleweave instead, I've got to figure a way to get a little more control over the yarn. I'm going to use one color for the entire warp so I will definitely be using B2F. I don't think I'll use the trapeze, although I really like it for cotton warps. Maybe sizing or spraying with hairspray to strengthen the yarn during the weaving process?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Changing Seasons

Mmmm, nothing like a rich, creamy soup to warm you up on a cold, autumn day.

I stopped at Panera Bread on the way into my mother's a couple of weeks ago and got her some broccoli cheddar soup. She loved it so much I had to try and duplicate it. I've made this several times since, usually in double batches so I can freeze single servings for her.

1 large head broccoli
2 cups onion -- sliced
4 tablespoons butter
48 ounces chicken broth
2 teaspoons oregano
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup milk
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese -- grated

Cut off florets and reserve. Chop stalks into small pieces. Add stalks, onions, and 2 tablespoons butter to dutch oven. Saute for 5-10 minutes until onions are translucent. Add half of the chicken broth and the oregano. Simmer for about 20 minutes, add florets and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Process in food processor or blender.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in pan, add flour and stir until smooth. Add dijon mustard and white pepper. Gradually add the processed mixture and the rest of the chicken broth. Cook, stirring, until mixture begins to boil. Lower heat and add cheese. Stir in milk and heat through.

I love the fall!

That reminds me - the autumn blanket is finished. Here's the before washing photo. I finished twisting the fringe and washed it last night.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Just Because I Can

The inner geek is coming out as I sit in my mother's house, knitting, listening to my ipod and surfing the net connected to my cell phone. It's as slow as molasses but it keeps me happy! Mom has night wanderlust and then sleeps happy as a clam for the whole morning. Unfortunately I never learned to sleep in spurts so when I'm up I'm up. Here's how the corrie tweed cardigan is progressing (again via the cell phone):

I am so pleased at the way the colors are changing, with no unsightly pooling or striping. I'll have to remember to bring my real camera in for better pictures.

I was getting a little bored last week and brought some of my wool singles that I'm weaving with to start something new - meet my Swallowtail (and my right thigh)!

I had to take this home as it wasn't compatable with jumping up at a second's notice. Notice the wheels in the background. My mom has been able to stop using the wheelchair and gone back to using the walker. Um, well, except that I've been sitting next to it in the kitchen for two hours and only just realized that she must have slipped past me for a bit of wandering during the night. I'm sure she'll be a little confused when she wakes up with out it next to her bed.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


This is more like it! I didn't get a chance to get back to the tangles until tonight. After an hour or two I got it straightened out and started weaving. I only had one thread pop on me so I consider myself lucky.

Watching the colors interlace and the design building never fails to delight me. The magic continues when I take a peak from the side.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Autumn Blanket

What a wonderous sight ...

until you look on the other side!

I could have sworn they said this was Donegal when I bought the cones at WEBS last spring, but their website only shows a 2/6 Donegal and this is definitely a single. After winding back to front for the last year or two I decided to wind separate colors and use front to back. Yikes! The singles were wrapping themselves around each other and made quite a mess. But it's only a three yard warp so the tangles will be easy enough to work out. If I decide to use this yarn for a longer warp I will be sure to wind the it in threading order.

Jackie asked if I had done other doubleweave blankets. I have woven 5 or 6. I switched some of my old blog posts over to Movable Type so I could search more easily and I found pictures of a few. My first doubleweave blanket was done following Chandler's suggestions. It was the second thing I ever wove and I used leftover yarn from two sweaters. I thought it was a little tight at the fold so I just pulled two warp threads out.

For my second I tried using fishing line as described in Handwoven's Doubleweave Issue (J/F 2002). That worked well as you can see here and it's what I've used ever since.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Indecent Exposure

Except for the boundweave sampler warp that I casually draped over the castle, the loom has remained dressed in only its birthday suit for about two months. With cool weather blowing in this weekend I decided to wind a warp for a blanket in warm autumn colors.

It will be 2" blocks woven double width (10 epi, sleyed 20 epi). 40 ends green (the yarn in the foreground is more green than it shows in the photo), 40 ends gold, 40 ends brown, 5 times, then 20 ends green at the fold. I wanted to do a plaid but it was taking me too long to figure out how to do it in doubleweave so I went with something easier. I'm still trying to work out the plaid, there's plenty of this yarn left.

So, what do you think this is?

Give up? It's polar fleece lined with flannel and this cool elasticized fold-over binding around the face opening. 1" elastic around the bottom holds it over the car seat. All that and it's reversible too. After I get some feedback from the new mom, this may end up being my default new baby present. I'm Wallaby'd out and this little gem only takes about an hour from start to finish.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Knitting Updates

Here are the two finished Claudia sweaters from the yarn that followed me home during the Excellent Adventure last March. I had my son take pictures because everytime I take them on timer mode I have the stupidest look on my face. So now I have weird coloring and the same stupid look. But Whitby looks good!

Here's another view showing the underarm gussets.

It was knit in Cascade 220 and was actually finished early in the summer but I never bothered weaving in the few ends or washing it since it was too warm to wear.

This is Northcott Rib knitted in Peace Fleece worsted weight. It was made in one piece with no seams to sew or stitches to graft. The only thing I had to do was sew on the buttons and weave a couple ends in. This will probably serve as a jacket until the temperatures really drop. Both patterns (and yarn) are from Countrywool and are easy to follow and were a joy to knit.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What Passes for Normal

It's funny what seemed so stressful a couple of weeks ago begins to feel normal - whatever that is. I really appreciate all the comments and emails. Just knowing there is a virtual community out there is a comfort.

I got a chance to get a little beading done on Saturday. I played around with some variations on the Serpentine design and came up with this.

I'm using 11/0 topaz Iris beads which, along with compacting the design, makes a narrower necklace, as you can see below.

Once I finish that I want to finally start on Mesh Motifs from the August 2004 Bead & Button. I have read over the directions so many times it's dog earred but I know I'm ready now!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Quietly Knitting

My mother's health has begun to deteriorate. While we all knew this would be coming, she did turn 90 last spring, it has been upsetting seeing this independent, vibrant woman become so unsure of herself. (As I looked for the entry about her birthday I saw the title - strangely prophetic.) For the last three weeks we have been able to have one of us with her constantly. She sleeps most of the time so I spend most of my time knitting and listening to my iPod - and thinking way too much. She has regained enough strength that she can get up from a chair and walk to the bathroom by herself, but that doesn't keep us from pacing outside the door waiting for her to call for assistance!

My mother's wishes are to remain in her home with no heroic measures taken. The doctors and my mother have told us that hovering over her is not going to keep something from happening. So we are making sure that measures are taken to allow her to get around safely. We'll make sure that someone is there for all of her meals so that she eats well and gets her medications. Then, starting next week we will start to give her some time alone. This is what she wants and we know it, but it doesn't make it any easier.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Back to Sewing

Much later than promised, but here's a few of my new sewing projects. These aren't fashion fabrics, instead I used whatever I had around here rather than making a muslin. First is Easy Pieces a quick top that I tried out with some old rayon challis. This was super easy to make, although I spent more time mitering the bias binding around the neck. This is one of three new patterns designed by Dana Bontrager I bought recently. I really like the way she gives ideas for embellishments or modifications to her patterns. I have another one cut out and ready to sew this weekend. The other two patterns are Forecast and the Ultimate Jeans Jacket.

Next up, The Weekend Shirt. I used some really funky fabric and I don't think I'll wear this for anything more than dyeing or working around the house, but I will make the pattern again in a better fabric. It's very comfortable without being too baggy. I like the 3/4 sleeves too.

When I make other Loes Hinse patterns I've made the shoulders a size or two smaller because they seem to hang too low. I think the Criss-Cross Top has less ease and I'm going to retrace the pattern using one size larger for the shoulders. This fabric is a 50/50 poly/cotton textured knit. Between the flash on the camera bouncing off the polyester and me trying to stand up straight my white bra can be seen shining through! I like this pattern and contrary to what the picture shows, is actually flattering. I highlighted the diagonal seamline because it didn't show up on the dark fabric. I made the ungathered version, but I'll make the gathered version next.

Nancy's Top is a Silhouette Pattern which has separate front pieces for A, B, or C cup in each size. I'm not sure what I was going to use this bright orange fabric for but it came in handy to try out this pattern. The pattern has both horizontal bust darts and vertical darts coming up from the bottom front for a more fitted look. I like the deep facing around the slashed neckline. It would be great for embellishment, maybe some of those beads that keep following me home! It's a little bright, but maybe I'll wear it for handing out Halloween candy!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

More Beads

I found a semi-local bead place and took a class last Thursday evening. In one of those small world things the woman teaching the class was in my needle felting class with Sharon Costello. She showed us how to make a right angle weave bracelet that can be embellished with beads, pearls, etc. By the time I left I had about half of the bracelet done, along with the button loop and a few embellishments. It only took about an hour the next day to finish up.

I had a few beads left over so I tried to come up with earrings to match. These looked all right until I stepped back and realized they would look like Bojangles dancing on my ears! I cut them apart and made them again, this time with just the two blocks and no square stitch. I attached the piece to the ear wires with loops of metallic delicas. I forgot to take pictures of them and it's too dark now.

I also started some sewing projects. More details tomorrow.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Dude! I'm Beading

It's been almost three years since I started collecting beads and tools, but did I have anything to show for it? Sure I do. A couple of stitch markers! That is until this weekend.

With the rag rug samples finished took the table loom back to the basement (on the pool table, where else?) and cleaned off the dining room table. It actually looked like a dining room for about 5 minutes, then I brought up all the beading supplies and started working.

Fortunately I didn't see the mistake on the right until the next morning, so I went to bed happy. I wanted to use a magnetic clasp (we are supposed to have break-away lanyards) but was worried it was too heavy. I was able to put the clasp on and secure it with those nifty little Beadstoppers. I attached a key (because I know it's heavier than my plastic id) and wore it around the house for a couple of hours. When I was sure it would be secure I fixed my mistake and added the clasps. This picture, taken this morning in daylight, shows a truer color.

My learning style involves gathering all the resources I can find and then reading, rereading, and reading one more time. Three years of this and I think I'm ready! So I took out a kit for a Serpentine Necklace. I'm not sure I'd wear it - it's very sparkly and if you know me at all you know I don't do sparkle. However, it was an EXCELLENT pattern. Well written and easy to understand. It also had very good illustrations. If you are a first time beader I would encourage you to try one of her kits. She walks you right through the process.

Here's a close up. While my daughters fight over this, I think I can adapt this to use with matte beads, using only half the width of the design.

Now a question. I have two pairs of earrings that I love. They are metal discs, the one on the right seems to have a glaze over copper, I think. I vaguely remember glazing copper disks in high school art class.

Do you know what these are called? What would I ask for? Every catalog and website I use has plenty o' sparkle, but I'm having trouble finding elements like these. I found two bead stores that are fairly local so I can try there too.